September 9th, 2013 | Shored Up | Monmouth, NJ
Day one of my tour started, very appropriately for Shored Up, just a few blocks from the Jersey Shore at Monmouth University. Like much of the Jersey Shore, Monmouth and the surrounding area took on some serious water. My visit to the school started with a talk and discussion with Tony Macdonald’s Global Sustainability class. Tony heads up the school’s Urban Coast Institute and turned out to be one of the most knowledgeable folks that I’ve met when it comes to the subject of coastal management and development. Tony was part of our post-screening panel which also included coastal geo-morphologist and Rutgers emeritus Norb Psuty and Surfrider’s John Weber (both from the film). We got into all kinds of complex and thorny issues related to the future of development along the coast –no room for platitudes about building too close to the edge here. Needless to say, I let the experts have at it most of the evening. It was one of the more wonky post-screening discussions I’ve had and the Q&A never got into the making of the film itself, but given the audience and the location it felt like it was just right.
Before the screening my host from the school, Andrew Demirjian, took me on a tour of the bucolic campus and we dropped into the Wilson building which houses some of the school’s administration. The building itself is an enormous pre-war mansion/summer home built by a rich industrialist who died just before it was finished. It was later bought by (former) President Wilson. It was hard to imagine ‘summering’ in the mansion with its ornate and massive lobby, but despite the East Hampton-like size of the home I thought it was interesting to consider that 100 years ago when this wealthy man built his enormous beach home, rather than put it on the edge of the ocean he seemed to know enough to stay a few blocks from the edge. That sensibility seems to have been lost somewhere along the way.
Post by OSIP Touring Filmmaker, Ben Kalina